“The way of love is the way of no-expectation. Love exists only when there is a total acceptance and no desire to change anything.”– Osho
Windenburg Lake House One week since finalization of Liam and Vivien's uncontested divorce
The tension in the air became palpable the moment Vivien followed Liam into the living area of the small home, Lana’s mood instantly dropped, her soft face hardened, her posture stiffened.
Both women greeted each other coolly and stiffly, then Lana got up from the couch and left the room right away without another word. Liam looked taken aback, then guilty.
“She’s in a mood.” said Vivien, grimacing.
“Vivien, why are you here? The divorce is final now, you have Nick until two weeks from now and you KNEW Lana wouldn’t be happy if you showed up here.” Liam aired his frustration over the interruption.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I had to automatically assume she would be roosting here all the time now, considering you both keep insisting you two aren’t all that serious yet. Aren’t you happy to see me, at least a little bit, the old friend, not the ex-wife, I mean? Look, I gained some weight, can you tell? Never thought saying that would be a good thing … but I guess I did get a bit too thin.”
“You look great as always, some weight gain is a step in the right direction for sure and you still look fantastic on stage. Now, I assume you didn’t come all this way to get a compliment from me.”
“No. I am travelling for work this weekend and took Nick with me, he’s actually at your parents’ house right now, I was on my way here with him and then thought there was a chance that Lana could be here, so I took him to the Cameron Estate instead. Looks like my instincts didn’t betray me. He and I are staying at the Grand Skyview Hotel in San Myshuno until Sunday afternoon, or better I am, Nick wanted to sleep over at his cousins and your family okayed it.”
“Why didn’t you call ahead? I planned date night in with Lana for tonight.” Liam lamented.
“I didn’t think I had to, thought this would be a welcome surprise for you. I am sure Lana can stay alone unsupervised for a bit so you can go see your son, can’t she? I am offering you this as a courtesy, as you pointed out you weren’t supposed to see Nick for two more weeks and I thought you’d be excited to see him sooner.”
“Yes, of course, thank you, I appreciate it a lot and thank you for not bringing him here, Lana and he haven’t really been introduced yet, since we still haven’t figured out how to tell our kids about the other and when. Let me talk to her about this, I am sure she understands, and I’ll see you over there in half an hour or so. Okay?”
“No, I am actually going back to the hotel. Staying at your family’s estate felt weird, all things considered, plus your dad being the mayor, me hanging around for longer periods of time so soon after our divorce would probably look iffy. Nick’s too busy with all his cousins anyway, he doesn’t need me there. Well, talk to you when I talk to you, I guess. I can see myself out.” Vivien turned and left.
Liam watched her leave, feeling as if he should be saying or doing something, but didn’t know what. When had his life become so incredibly complicated, leaving him to second guess every single one of his actions?
With a sigh he went to look for Lana and found her down the hall in his bedroom.
“Why did you leave?”
“You think I want to constantly be exposed to her so openly flirting with you, hanging off you every chance she gets, and you let it all happen like a goon? You know how many times I have seen Dane since the divorce over two months ago now? ZERO. The ink is barely dry on yours; and here she is yet again. By the way, my head is still spinning how you two went from no progress at all to the speediest divorce I have ever seen, guess when you are a celebrity sky is the limit. Liam, I get you two have a child and will have to meet, but this is getting ridiculous.”
“What is all that supposed to mean? The divorce was amicable and uncontested, we had everything laid out properly, I know her attorney personally, Kai is a great and seasoned lawyer who taught me a thing or two and a real nice guy, so we worked it out together and there was no reason for a delay. Vivien and I are being friendly because we go way back and are co-parenting. Isn’t that better than bashing our heads in at first sight, even in front of our child?”
“Are you really THIS blind, Liam, or do you not WANT to see it? She is still trying to win you back, take you from me, by all means necessary, even if that meant her allowing the divorce after at first throwing everything possible at it to delay it. We are both attorneys, so don’t tell me you didn’t notice. When that didn’t work, and you still stayed with me, she changed her approach.”
“I didn’t realize I am some trophy to be given or taken from you or anyone! I don’t think I am ANYBODY’s property, especially not right now. Also felt I made that plenty clear.”
“You don’t have to tell me, I know, and I feel the same way, but are you so sure Vivien got that memo? You are a trophy to her. Open your eyes! She is manipulating you left and right. And you are still obsessed with her, same as before. Over ten years have passed since we last were in this exact situation, minus kids and divorces, but the rest is the same merry-go-round. I really thought things had changed, after the way she hurt you, but then again, that’s not really the first time, and probably wasn’t the last. Starting to wonder if I am the blind fool here, and just as obsessed with you as you are with her. I think once more I am left chasing my own tail here in a battle I cannot possibly win, like I swore I never would be again.”
“Come on now, Lana. You’re making mountains out of molehills. She and I share a son, but we don’t live together, which is hard enough, something you will soon understand, unless we figure out whatever the fuck you want to call what we are doing here before you give birth.”
“We are coping, that is what we are doing, Liam, with a situation unecessarily complicated by an unplanned pregnancy. As unfortunate as that is, to me it’s still no reason to throw all caution out the window and rush into something together. I told you I didn’t want a relationship so soon after my divorce, which after my marriage to Bagley was one of the worst experiences of my entire life, because as you may recall, my divorce wasn’t as cutesy as yours. So, I am trying to rally here, while trying to shield my poor little girl. And I have the baby to think of now, for better or worse.”
“I didn’t want a relationship in the middle of my divorce either, which was STILL a divorce and not the happy occasion you seem to think it was, trust me, it was not. I most certainly didn’t mean to father a baby in the middle of it all, and just like you I am trying to make sure my son doesn’t get damaged by any of this shit. You say you want me, care about me, yet you blow me off when I even touch the idea of you moving in with me since you still haven’t found anything new yet. You won’t meet my parents, I know fuck all about yours, you won’t introduce me to your daughter and I sure as fuck am not gonna drag Nick into something that seems flimsy at best.”
“Flimsy? Try guarded. Fool me once. I let you in the first time around and you chose Vivien, and by the looks of it, there is a chance that could happen again. So pardon me that this whole seize the moment notion doesn’t work for me here. It was not my idea to get pregnant. If I may remind you, I wanted an abortion, the only reason I haven’t done that is because you begged me not to, but honestly Liam, I need a baby like a hole in the head, we both do and to be frank, this is the reason I hesitate to have the paternity confirmed. Call it my backdoor being left cracked until I can believe in this, in us, and this is not meant as a threat, just a reminder that it is my life, my body and my future at stake, so I may still change my mind here. Baby aside, I already have a daughter to think of, Liam, whom I love more than anything in the world, as you may understand if you love your Nick even half as much as I do Meaghan. I can’t just move in with men and have more kids with them as I please, hoping this will be the one to see it through with me. I have put Meaghan through that enough, seeking happiness with the wrong men, only to find more gloom every time, so – baby or not – I won’t do that again. Especially not under these circumstances.”
“Circumstances? And as disappointed as you sound in me, while you point your finger at me, some are pointing back at you. I thought I was more than just ‘men’ in your book, and I think the plan of us ‘taking it slow’ went out the window when you got knocked up! I admit, it’s a wrench in both our gears, one you probably blame me for, so come on, let’s have it. Everything was always my fault with Vivien too, why not recycle that now?! Maybe you are right, maybe it was my fault. I fucked up by not doublechecking I was still shooting blanks. But I do not have a rewind key for this shit either. And honestly, if you want to bring up abortion thinking you can spank me into shape that way, you are wrong. I don’t do blackmail, Lana! If you think that will bring me to my knees, begging you to reconsider while doing everything you ask, think again.”
“It’s not blackmail, this is me telling you I am not a blinded-by love immature girl with a head filled of dreams about what this could become. I had too many reality checks in my life by now and it looks like I am in the middle of another. Is she still here? Your ex-wife? I bet she is hunkering down, getting comfy, hoping I leave. Maybe we should go out there to entertain her with front row seats to our fight which she caused! She would LOVE that.”
“Vivien left, and you are being unreasonable!”
“Me? ME? Ha, Liam, look into a mirror! Well, actually, even if you did, she pulled the wool so far over your eyes, you see nothing anymore. I don’t want to fight anymore, there is no use. This was supposed to be our time, now she’s ruining that too. Can we now finally relax and get comfy on the couch or is your ex-wife coming back with snacks to join us. Oh wait, my bad, her skinny self does not eat – ever.”
“Lana! I don’t even recognize you right now.”
“It’s what a bitter divorce followed by an unplanned pregnancy under the worst circumstances by a man who so clearly can’t let go of his ex-wife does to a woman! My threshold for your ex’s meddling and your obsession with her is lower than usual. But you are right. Let’s stop this, forget about this, move on and try to finally enjoy our time together. I have been looking forward to this so much, it carried me through a really shitty week at work, so let’s just go get comfy now, find a movie and try to forget about all of this. I am done with this topic. So done.” Lana calmed down with her last words, looked exhausted.
“I am so sorry, but I can’t. Raincheck. The reason she was here was to invite me to see my son. She’s traveling with him and added this stop on purpose so I can see Nick. He’s with my parents and his cousins at the estate on the island. I have to go see Nicholas. You get that, right? I’ll try to be quick, Nick’s bedtime is 8 PM, and I know my sisters do the same, so I’ll be back right after. Promise.”
“You have GOT to be kidding me! We have planned this night for over a week. I arranged for Meaghan to stay with friends so we can have tonight, just us. And now you go see your ex-wife instead?”
“I AM NOT FUCKING SEEING MY EX-WIFE – I AM TRYING TO SEE MY SON!!!” Liam shouted, annoyed and losing his cool.
His sudden unexpected outburst startled Lana, she swiveled around, then ran out of the room.
“Shit!” Liam said to himself, breathed to calm himself down, before going after her, but just missed her pulling the front door shut behind herself.
He ran after her, caught her about to get into her car.
“Lana what is this now?!”
“What does it look like? Have fun.”
She slammed the door shut, started and immediately drove off.
“Fuck fuck fuck fuck FUCK!” Liam yelled, while kicking and pounding his fists into the front door of his home.
San Myshuno Downtown Grand Skyview Hotel
Many hours later, almost midnight, Vivien was standing by the window of her suite, lost in dreams and memories while staring at the stunning San Myshuno skyline, when her phone buzzed with a text message.
Reluctantly, she returned to the here and now, picked up the device to find it was a message from Liam, which started a brief conversation between them.
Vivien’s heart pounded hard as she typed her room number in response to his very obvious, even if unspoken, question, then exhaled as she hit ‘Send’, feeling nervous, jumping when there was a knock on the door. He was here. Liam was here. At her hotel. Be still, heart.
She opened and let him in.
“Did all your security guards go for little gorillas at the same time?” Liam mumbled.
“I dismissed them until I am leaving for the airport tomorrow. I got tired of those burly men always loitering around.”
“Thought that was your type now.”
“Did you come here to fight? Or just to hear me say it again? The last hundreds of times weren’t enough yet? Fine, I messed up. Clear failure of judgement. Alex Montgomery was a huge mistake, biggest of my life. There, happy now?”
Liam just stared at her, then shook his head.
“No, I am not happy. I think I forgot how to be happy. I am also fucking drunk. Been at your hotel for the past 2 hours, drinking the bar empty, wondering why the fuck I came here in the first place.” he slurred.
“And you thought you’d find the answer at the bottom of a bottle?”
“Got any better ideas?”
She shook her head, and for a moment, silence fell between them, Vivien noticed that just like her, he was still wearing his wedding band, even though they were divorced now. It made her feel strange, took her back to happier times, until Liam quietly said.
“I shouldn’t be here. I should leave. Lana’s so pissed at me, if she were to find out about this now, it would be over for sure. Actually, after the fight we had I am not so sure we aren’t over anyway … Fuck! Vivien, what am I doing here? Why did I come here, of all places? I don’t understand anything anymore. I don’t understand myself anymore. Who am I now? What is all this? Help me make sense of it all!” Liam’s voice was hoarse, his words slurred, full of desperation.
It broke Vivien’s heart to see him like that, she stepped in front of the door, blocking his way out.
“I don’t have any answers for you Liam, still trying to figure all that out myself. I am just as confused as you are, even sober it makes no sense, nothing does anymore. All I know is that I cannot let you drive like this. You’re a mess – and way too drunk.”
“I don’t fucking know what to do anymore, Viv.” Liam’s words were an angry, desperate yelp.
“Me either. I am completely lost.”
“Nick seems happy. At least we are doing something right. But the rest is all fucked. FUCKED! Everything in my life is just FUCKED!”
Vivien didn’t move, just looked at him; their eyes locked for what felt like an eternity, both could feel the tension building.
Then, as if spring-loaded, Liam grabbed Vivien, kissing her hard, she responded in kind.
Without stopping their making out, she started to peel his clothing off him, while also trying to shed hers.
Liam didn’t give her much chance to get too engrossed in his mostly unclothed body or his chest she always seemed to want to touch, as he picked her up and tossed her onto the lavish hotel bed, where he joined them with great hunger and passion.
The next hours were filled with lovemaking, passionate kisses that became calmer, sweeter, until an exhausted Liam snuggled up in Vivien’s arms, wrapped tightly around him, her fingers playing with his chest that had always been so magical to her, when she cleared her throat.
“Liam, there is something I have been meaning to tell you …” she started, her voice just more than a whisper, when she realized he was heavy in her arms, his breathing even and shallow. She bend her head and saw he had fallen asleep, a faint smile on his lips.
“I guess it will have to wait then.” Vivien whispered, kissing his cheek, before sliding herself into a more comfortable position while never letting go of the man she loved so much, as if he were the most precious thing the world had ever seen. To her he was. He and their son.
She eventually found a restless and dreamless sleep, which was way too soon ended by her alarm to get up and pick up Nicholas.
Liam joined them despite a raging hangover, but the excitement in his son’s face to have breakfast with mommy and daddy made it bearable.